You have decided to learn English. Congratulations! That’s the first step.
We know that there is a wide range of options and, at times, it’s difficult to know where to start. Here are some tips to consider when choosing your English course.
Learning English abroad?
The first thing to consider is whether to go abroad or to study at a local school.
We understand that going abroad is always a challenge, but learning abroad will help you practice the language in your day-to-day life. You will have to use your vocabulary in supermarkets, cafes, etc.
It will allow you to meet new people as well as experience a new culture.
Learning abroad doesn’t magically make learning English easier, however. You will still need to pay attention and concentrate, but English schools abroad know this and will make your learning process as easy as possible.
Which destination is the best to learn English?
Once you have decided to go abroad, you will have to pick a location to study. There are plenty of options! The world is your oyster.
This is one of the most important decisions. Most countries have English schools, but if your aim is to learn native English, you will need to go to an English-speaking country. No worries, there are many!
Choosing a location depends on how far you want to travel, how expensive it is and how much time you want to spend in the location.
Choosing London as a destination to learn English is always a safe choice. There are many schools to choose from and, with 5 airports, it’s easy to get to London from almost anywhere in the world. As an extra bonus, from London, you can travel to many other cities around the UK and Europe you may want to visit while you are studying.
Right, how to make sure it’s a quality school?
Thanks to the Internet you are going to be able to get plenty of options to choose from, but how do you know the school is a high quality school? The first thing we recommend is to look for schools that have been accredited by an independent body. That will guarantee that the school meets certain standards of quality in their teaching, student care, administration, accommodation and management in general.
Once you have decided on a location, go to the website of the accrediting body of your choice and look for accredited centres.
We recommend having a look at the website of The British Council, which was the first accreditation scheme for English schools in the UK. You can even look at the school’s inspection report!
What courses do they offer?
Before enrolling, make sure you get an understanding of what your goals are and what course you are interested in.
The most popular courses you can find are, General English and exam preparation courses.
General English courses provide a balanced programme, focusing on general skills: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
Unless you want to prepare for a specific exam, these courses are the most popular.
The methodology used by the school is really important. Some English schools use a specific methodology which may not be adequate for your needs. Do not be shy to ask them.
Do they offer accommodation?
Another important thing to look at is the accommodation options the school has to offer.
English schools normally offer accommodation services, which basically means that they will find you accommodation for your stay.
The most popular options are host families, shared houses and student residences.
Here the choice is personal and depends on what level of independence you prefer.
All and all, the most important thing once you have decided which one suits you best, is to see how far will you be from your school.
In some cities, such as London, location is key. Living near the school will make a huge difference to your day- to-day life.
Some schools even offer accommodation in the same location or what’s called “living on campus”. This will allow you not only to save on transport but on hours of sleep.
Full hour or lesson?
You may be wondering, “What exactly is the difference ?” Well, the difference can turn into many hours depending on how many lessons or hours you study.
Some schools offer lessons normally within the range of 45-50 minutes of study and 10-15 minute breaks.
Other schools offer hours, which means a full 60-minute lesson and a break after.
Unless the price is lower in the first case, the best value for money comes with the second option.
If you have ever studied, you will know that the class size is quite important. It’s not possible to get the same level of attention from the teacher in a class of 30 as in a class of 15.
This is quite important if you want to make the most of your course. Always look for the maximum class size in the website of the school. It is rare not to find this information, but if it is the case, is always better to ask the administration before enrolling.
If you would like to practice intensively and maximise your speaking opportunities, you may want to also consider one-to-one lessons.
Of course, you are travelling to learn English, but it’s important to consider how you will make the most of your trip. Look at the social activities the school offers. It’s quite important to interact with other students that are in the same situation as you out of the classroom.